October Books 6) Year’s Best SF 6, edited by David G. Hartwell

I have only a handful of books left to read of those I marked as “unread” when I joined Librarything in late 2005, so I have decided to start working through those I had already read before then but hadn’t reviewed on-lline. There are a couple of thousand of them, so this is not a project I seriously intend to complete any time soon. The ordering is rather randomly determined by whatever happened to be on the shelves as I got around to cataloguing four years ago, so I’m starting with a run of Hartwell anthologies. (And a guidebook to Paris, if I can find it.)

This pulls together Hartwell’s selection of the best stories of 2000. As you would expect, they are all good: the standouts for me are David Langford’s “Different Kinds of Darkness”, from his series of BLIT stories, this one set in a boarding school for specially talented children; Greg Egan’s “Oracle”, which has an alternate-universe take on the possible interactions between C.S. Lewis and Alan Turing; and Teg Chiang’s “Seventy-Two Letters”, which combines steampunk and qabalah.

It is interesting to compare Hartwell’s choices with those of the Hugo and Nebula voters that year. “Different Kinds of Darkness” won the Hugo for Best Short Story (deservedly and decisively; the other nominees were all terrible). “Oracle” and “Seventy-Two Letters” were both on the Hugo shortlist for Best Novella, but were beaten by Jack Williamson’s “The Ultimate Earth”, which is not as good a story as either but was obviously the last chance to give an award to the nonagenarian author (it won the Nebula too, I guess for the same reason). None of Hartwell’s selections made it to the Nebula shortlist, or even the preliminary ballot, for either year of eligibility. Draw your own conclusions…

One thought on “October Books 6) Year’s Best SF 6, edited by David G. Hartwell

  1. I read it once, and remember really wanting to read parts that had been edited out. (But then, I’m one of the people who don’t mind a treatise on what hobbits smoke, and I’ve never made it through the entire LotR.)

Comments are closed.